x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Rayef promises much with second place in south of France

The Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed-owned Arabian colt, Rayef proved his budding form by finishing a promising second in the Zayed The Premier flat race.

The Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed-owned Arabian colt, Rayef proved his budding form at the Hippodrome de Bequet in La Teste de Buch, in the south of France by finishing a promising second in the Zayed The Premier flat race. The three-year-old's French trainer, Jean-Pierre Totain, scored a one-two in the race, with his own Kalikeauba out-manoeuvring Rayef by one and half lengths. Pre-race favourite, Jean-Francois Bernard-trained Sabbat Al Khalidiah finished seventh from a field of 10 runners. The event was the second in a series of race meetings staged as part of the Festival of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed for Arabian flat horse racing.

Kalikeauba is proving a force in the series, having finished third in a six-furlong race held at the first event of the festival, at the same La Taste course, this month. Rayef's jockey, Frenchman Charles Nora felt the race was a show of things to come from the three-year-old. "He seemed reluctant so I did not want to panic him. But he has a lot of talent and will improve for the better," said Nora.

The winning jockey, Francois-Xavier Bertras was pleased with the progress Kalikeauba has made since the start of the festival. "Kalikeauba is more of a distance runner. Today's trip suited him," Bertras said. The 1,900m Group Three race is part of a series staged on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage, in association with the Breeding Stables of Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed. zgriffiths@thenational.ae